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Optimism & the Obama Presidency

Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States tomorrow.  Despite the exceedingly tough economic times Americans overwhelmingly see Obama as something positive for America.

‘a New York Times poll found 79% think Barack Obama will improve the nation – a level of support that is higher than for any incoming president in 3 decades’.

Cynics might say that this optimism partly reflects disaffection with the current President George Bush.  Maybe true and, in any event, optimism can feed disappointment. It is wonderful news that a black man is entering the White House but we should not assume that a public works program will resolve America’s intractable soccial and economic problems:

Ten trillion dollars have evaporated in the greatest stock market crash since the 1930s. Twenty million Americans face negative equity, 30 million Americans are in poverty, 40 million have no health insurance. The numbers just keep piling up…..
And so, pretty soon, we will all probably start to complain that Obama is a man of straw, a media creation, a triumph of style over substance; more a celebrity than a politician – a “polebrity” to use the latest ugly neologism.

Americans must be realistic and demand only the possible. Obama has already begun the difficult task of trying to hose down expectations.

10 comments to Optimism & the Obama Presidency

  • rabee

    My worry is that Bush had an equally strong group of economic advisers. People that make a lot of sense.

    I guess that the “decider” was dumb and couldn’t understand the advice made by good economists while Obama will certainly understand the advice given his economists; which may or may not be less sound than the advice given to Bush.

    So I’m enthusiastic that they have elected Obama who seems to be very smart.

  • rabee

    oops. I pressed the publish button instead of cancle ……

  • Spiros

    One of Obama’s first acts may be to finish the job Bush started, and completely nationalise the US banking system.

    Interesting times.

  • jc

    Which banks would he nationalize, Spiros and how much would it cost? If you add their current spending program the budget deficit is already expected to be 10% GDP.

    Have you actually counted the cost?


    Why do you think Obama is smart. What has he done to impress you so much. Do you know his IQ if he is indeed smart. His official background is actually less then impressive.

  • civitas

    I am not any more delighted that a black man has been elected than I would be if a white man had been elected. I just don’t care what race Obama is.

    If he’s now interested in tax cuts, I am for it.

  • hc

    Civitas, That’s exactly why its a good thing a black man was elected. It neuters the race issue and turns attention towards what a person stands for.

    Surely you cannot be serious about tax cuts for other than immediate short-term stimulatory reasons. Trillion dollar deficits will eventually need to be paid for.

  • Spiros

    JC, the dogs are barking for Citi and Bank of America. The way their share prices are heading, the cost will be minimal.

  • jc

    Cut spending or freeze spending at the nominal rate for 10 years, Harry. That should pay for the tax cuts.

  • jc

    In his speech, the chosen one told the audience that Americans consume too many resources.

    I guess that means he’s pretty happy about the recession. What’s that about being smart, Rabee?

  • civitas

    Harry, it’s not any better that a black man was elected that it would have been had a white man been elected. He’s just a man, his race simply does not matter. I find it very backwards to celebrate the election of anyone based on their race.

    And yes, I am perfectly serious about tax cuts. I very much liked the Bush tax cuts and I’ll like Obama’s too if he follows through.

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